Iran getting $1.7B from U.S. in “debt and interest”

posted at 3:31 pm on January 17, 2016 by Taylor Millard

Iran is getting $1.7B from the U.S. in something the White House is claiming settles a dispute on military equipment sales before the 1979 revolution. Secretary of State John Kerry first announced the settlement in a six paragraph statement posted on the State Department’s website.

This is the latest of a series of important settlements reached over the past 35 years at the Hague Tribunal. In constructive bilateral discussions, we arrived at a fair settlement to this claim, which due to litigation risk, remains in the best interests of the United States.

Iran will receive the balance of $400 million in the Trust Fund, as well as a roughly $1.3 billion compromise on the interest. Iran’s recovery was fixed at a reasonable rate of interest and therefore Iran is unable to pursue a bigger Tribunal award against us, preventing U.S. taxpayers from being obligated to a larger amount of money.

Kerry’s statement also says all U.S claims against Iran were settled years ago and U.S. private companies got over $2.5B from Iran. But he also noted Iran still has outstanding claims against the U.S. so more cash could be headed Iran’s way. This was something President Barack Obama did not make mention of during his speech on the Iran deal/prisoner swap/cash settlement this morning. He just focused on the fact a settlement was reached.

“Since 1981, after our nations severed diplomatic relations, we’ve worked through a international tribunal to resolve various claims between our countries. The United States and Iran are now settling a longstanding Iranian government claim against the United States government. Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought.

For the United States, this settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran. So there was no benefit to the United States in dragging this out. With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.”

The timing of all this is extremely curious (and coincidental) to the release of the five prisoners being held in Iran. It’s completely possible the U.S decided to settle the claim levied by Iran as just an added assurance the prisoners would come home. That means the settlement could be seen as a form of ransom but is doesn’t mean it is. The timing, though, is just bizarre. From a PR standpoint, you’d think the Obama Administration would be willing to wait a week or a month to announce the deal to avoid any questions, but it’s possible they were hoping it’d slide because of the NFL playoffs. It could be the administration decided to make the payment now, so it wouldn’t come up in the general election. The entire thing is also questionable because of the Obama Administration’s past stance on ransom payments for prisoners. Here’s what Treasury Department undersecretary David Cohen said in London in 2012 on ransom payments (via The Washington Post).

“Ransom payments lead to future kidnappings, and future kidnappings lead to additional ransom payments. And it all builds the capacity of terrorist organizations to conduct attacks. We must find a way to break the cycle. Refusing to pay ransoms or to make other concessions to terrorists is, clearly, the surest way to break the cycle, because if kidnappers consistently fail to get what they want, they will have a strong incentive to stop taking hostages in the first place.”

It’s important to note the U.S. did change its policy on families deciding whether they wanted to pay ransom for prisoners last year. But The Wall Street Journal noted it seemed to be more along the lines of promising no one would be prosecuted for making a payment, not that the government would do payments.

In the directive, the White House will make clear that U.S. policy allows victims’ families and the U.S. government itself to enter into “communications” with hostage takers, their intermediaries or other governments to try to secure the release of American hostages, the officials said.

While the directive will stop short of saying victims’ families can pay ransoms to hostage takers, administration and law-enforcement officials will issue public assurances Wednesday that victims’ relatives won’t be threatened with prosecution for doing so.

The rules are probably different when it’s sovereign nation negotiating with sovereign nation, but shouldn’t private families be able to pay a ransom if they want to? It seems logical they should be allowed to, but logic doesn’t always exist in the government. So what happens if this was a ransom payment? It really doesn’t change anything, except to show the hypocrisy of Washington D.C. when it comes to “negotiating with terrorists” or terrorist nations. But this is the U.S. and consistency in foreign policy isn’t something which is expected at all.

The other question is why did it take so long for this agreement to be reached? Is it just because of the strain between the U.S. and Iran or because Iran was asking for that much money? Why wasn’t this settled beforehand when all the other cases were? It’s doubtful the White House will be willing to discuss this, so the speculation will just keep going on and on. It’s fantastic the five prisoners are headed home, and I’m extremely thankful they’re being reunited with their families. But it’s still weird this settlement was announced just a day after they were released. It’s possible the settlement is just a settlement and not a payment for prisoner release, but the timing is just really odd. The optimist in me is hopeful it’s just a coincidence, but the cynic in me says it’s not.


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Comments

That makes USA world’s largest funder of terrorism?

petefrt on January 17, 2016 at 3:37 PM

Let’s see if 0 gave $1.7 Billion, how much is going back to him and Kerry?

woodhull on January 17, 2016 at 3:39 PM

Obama was ready to give $17 billion but Val thought that would be too obvious.

VorDaj on January 17, 2016 at 3:40 PM

It’s all part of that “transformation of America”. The money and power we one held has to go somewhere.

31giddyup on January 17, 2016 at 3:40 PM

one = once

31giddyup on January 17, 2016 at 3:41 PM

Let’s see if 0 gave $1.7 Billion, how much is going back to him and Kerry?

woodhull on January 17, 2016 at 3:39 PM

Obama and Kerry asked for 10%, but the Iranians would only go 5%.

VorDaj on January 17, 2016 at 3:41 PM

That makes USA world’s largest funder of terrorism?

petefrt on January 17, 2016 at 3:37 PM

Second only to Saudi Arabia but closing fast.

VorDaj on January 17, 2016 at 3:42 PM

Does this mean they’ll stop calling us “The great Satan”?

/s

bernzright777 on January 17, 2016 at 3:46 PM

obama and Jarrett, the de facto president of the USA, actively fund terrorism.

Schadenfreude on January 17, 2016 at 3:49 PM

We give Iran 1.7 billion dollars

Iran gives it back to us through Nukes and terror attacks.

Damn Obama to hell.

portlandon on January 17, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Fox also reported earlier that Iran received an extra $250,000 per released American via “a 3rd party”.

But we don’t negotiate with terrorists.

Oxymoron on January 17, 2016 at 3:53 PM

If my understanding is correct, this is just returning money that belongs to Iran

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 3:53 PM

Obama and the dems are a sponsor of terrorism.

portlandon on January 17, 2016 at 3:54 PM

Who approves this payment? Doesn’t it have to go through the House? Was this payment an item in this year’s budget?

herm2416 on January 17, 2016 at 3:55 PM

If my understanding is correct, this is just returning money that belongs to Iran

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 3:53 PM

Ah, from the mouths of babes.. (read: [email protected]).

bernzright777 on January 17, 2016 at 3:58 PM

If my understanding is correct, this is just returning money that belongs to Iran

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 3:53 PM

Yea, we borrowed it from them last week……………………

VegasRick on January 17, 2016 at 3:59 PM

Ransom pure and simple if not just a gift of public funds.

The other alternative would have been to tell Iran to kiss our butt. Of the two, I favor that.

Mason on January 17, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Ah, from the mouths of babes.. (read: [email protected]).

bernzright777 on January 17, 2016 at 3:58 PM

are you saying I’m wrong? if so, where’s your evidence?

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 4:01 PM

Also, not only did we release 7 Iranians but they vacated international arrest warrants on 14 others.

So, besides all the money involved, the current count stands technically at 21 Iranians for 3 Americans. Since only 3 of the 4 have actually left Iran so far.

Oxymoron on January 17, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Also, not only did we release 7 Iranians but they vacated international arrest warrants on 14 others.

So, besides all the money involved, the current count stands technically at 21 Iranians for 3 Americans. Since only 3 of the 4 have actually left Iran so far.

Oxymoron on January 17, 2016 at 4:08 PM

that just means American lives are worth more

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Wonder how much Valerie J.’s kickback is?

albill on January 17, 2016 at 4:12 PM

So, besides all the money involved, the current count stands technically at 21 Iranians for 3 Americans. Since only 3 of the 4 have actually left Iran so far.

Oxymoron on January 17, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Or as dogeater would say “one of my better deals”.

VegasRick on January 17, 2016 at 4:12 PM

that just means American lives are worth more

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Or that obungle and kary are horrible negotiators.

VegasRick on January 17, 2016 at 4:14 PM

Death to America, but keep the $$$ coming – iran & libtards

VegasRick on January 17, 2016 at 4:18 PM

Bowing to the ayatollahs. Obama has cemented his place in history as America’s worst president.
JV participation trophy will be presented to Obie on January 20, 2017.

Krupnikas on January 17, 2016 at 4:25 PM

Thank you very much Paul Ryan and the RINO contingent.

Mr. Arrogant on January 17, 2016 at 4:27 PM

that just means American lives are worth more

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 4:11 PM

You’re catching on. Good for you.

bernzright777 on January 17, 2016 at 4:27 PM

that just means American lives are worth more

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Not according to obama, no one life is as important as any other.

RickB on January 17, 2016 at 4:34 PM

Well, actually, it was going to go to O’s buds in the USA or Iran. At this point, what difference does it make? Much of it will find it’s way back into the country through money laundering to the Clinton foundation and the Obama library and the DNC. So, all is well.

they lie on January 17, 2016 at 4:37 PM

Just goes to show that you can win the 1.5 billion lottery without having to buy a $2 lottery ticket. Or, is this a payoff for making American sailors cry? I’m sure Obama and Valjay had an orgasm when they heard that the US sailors were reduced to tears at the hands of ISIS.

they lie on January 17, 2016 at 4:43 PM

Why wasn’t this settled beforehand when all the other cases were? It’s doubtful the White House will be willing to discuss this, so the speculation will just keep going on and on.

I’m thinking, the way Iran has been acting, they’re just getting what they can before they hit us with the big one… (An underground test) in a month or two.
That’s the cynic in me

Gwillie on January 17, 2016 at 4:44 PM

that just means American lives are worth more

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Congratulations, you have justified paying protection money so that no one kidnaps our people. Should we just go ahead and pay money to the North Koreans too? After all, American lives are worth more.

itsspideyman on January 17, 2016 at 4:44 PM

Where is the funding for this payment coming from? Congress should zero it out, except for what can be paid by deducting money coming from Kerry and Obama’s Federal pensions.

No Truce With Kings on January 17, 2016 at 4:52 PM

Obama is paying them INTEREST??? Do terrorist nations get a preferred rate? What about free checking? As the old saying goes, it would be funny if it weren’t so frightening. God help us.

horatio on January 17, 2016 at 4:55 PM

Where is the funding for this payment coming from?

If you pay fed. taxes, it’s coming out of your hard earned wages.You will pay it and STFU or vote for Trump who will see that you don’t pay for this chit in the future. Choice is yours.

they lie on January 17, 2016 at 4:57 PM

Intrest? What are we the worlds bank now…

sorrowen on January 17, 2016 at 5:00 PM

The most provocative and dangerous thing a nation can do is be indecisive and weak. That’s Obama’s principal legacy. He’s left power vacuums around the world that tyrants and terrorists were only too happy to fill.

RBMN on January 17, 2016 at 5:01 PM

If my understanding is correct, this is just returning money that belongs to Iran

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 3:53 PM

That’s a pretty big “if.”

Also, not only did we release 7 Iranians but they vacated international arrest warrants on 14 others.

So, besides all the money involved, the current count stands technically at 21 Iranians for 3 Americans. Since only 3 of the 4 have actually left Iran so far.

Oxymoron on January 17, 2016 at 4:08 PM

that just means American lives are worth more

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Congratulations, you have justified paying protection money so that no one kidnaps our people. Should we just go ahead and pay money to the North Koreans too? After all, American lives are worth more.

itsspideyman on January 17, 2016 at 4:44 PM

@nonpartisan

Three or four American lives are worth more than 300 million American lives? That’s some wonderful Common Core math you’re using.

Aizen on January 17, 2016 at 5:03 PM

Isn’t it against their religion?

Schadenfreude on January 17, 2016 at 5:04 PM

Intrest? What are we the worlds bank now…

Yes. For many moons. Many many moons. We even went to the moon looking for borrowers or mooneys to give foreign aid. We are currently trying to see if we can get some martian borrowers and are looking at how we can get the nartians to cash in on our foreign aid. The universe of US foreign aid is endless. I am told that the univers has no end. So, we are set for eternity at being the Universal lender and giver of US tax payer dollars. Dems. are already working on how to register the voters in the far reaches of the galaxy.

they lie on January 17, 2016 at 5:08 PM

WTF happened to millions for defense not a penny for tribute?

LeeBelieu on January 17, 2016 at 5:16 PM

And 3 Americans were just kidnapped in IRAQ.. Golly who didn’t see this coming..

dougmva on January 17, 2016 at 5:19 PM

Obama and Kerry must love being Iran’s prison bitch.

Techster64 on January 17, 2016 at 5:19 PM

Yes. For many moons. Many many moons. We even went to the moon looking for borrowers or mooneys to give foreign aid. We are currently trying to see if we can get some martian borrowers and are looking at how we can get the nartians to cash in on our foreign aid. The universe of US foreign aid is endless. I am told that the univers has no end. So, we are set for eternity at being the Universal lender and giver of US tax payer dollars. Dems. are already working on how to register the voters in the far reaches of the galaxy.

they lie on January 17, 2016 at 5:08 PM

This reminds me of a Star Wars parody on an episode of Family Guy, in which Rush Limbaugh (in his own voice) rails against “intergalactic liberalism.” Don’t think the Democrats wouldn’t try to register Martians if they could get away with it.

Aizen on January 17, 2016 at 5:24 PM

I came here to see what an uproar the neocons were in over the iran deal. It is fascinating seeing the difference between how you guys view Saudi’s and Iranians. 9/11 = Saudi’s, but Iran is the threat because Israel says so.

this irrational hatred of Iran gives me heartburn.

fatlibertarianinokc on January 17, 2016 at 5:31 PM

It’s the Saudis.

Schadenfreude on January 17, 2016 at 5:32 PM

If my understanding is correct, this is just returning money that belongs to Iran

noforeskin on January 17, 2016 at 3:53 PM

…a #gofundme account

JugEarsButtHurt on January 17, 2016 at 5:39 PM

It’s the Saudis.

Schadenfreude on January 17, 2016 at 5:32 PM

The Bush clan takes umbrage with your comment.

Mr. Arrogant on January 17, 2016 at 5:43 PM

3 Americans are missing in Iraq. They learn fast.

Kissmygrits on January 17, 2016 at 5:45 PM

Interesting article from Clinton’s last term detailing the money we’re talking about:
http://www.wnd.com/2000/10/6753/

“The United States will have to pay Iran whatever amount in the Iran FMS account is held by the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal to be owed to Iran,” Eizenstat said in June. “The current balance of the Iran FMS account, which is approximately $400 million, is the subject of Iran’s multi-billion-dollar claim against the United States before the Tribunal, arising out of the Iran FMS program.”

In fact, Iran’s “multi-billion-dollar claim” in this case relates in part to a fundamental question most teenagers would understand. Iran was demanding interest — 20 years worth of interest — on its $400 million.

The U.S. was claiming instead that the $400 million had been placed in an interest-free revolving cash account. Worth $400 million in 1979, Iran’s money was still worth $400 million in 2000 — minus administrative and warehousing fees for Iran’s remaining spare parts.

lymond on January 17, 2016 at 5:51 PM

One of the few things I agree with Trump is that we have the worlds worst negotiators. We seem to start with everything they want and add from there..

mgj48 on January 17, 2016 at 6:55 PM

I guess Iran is the real Powerball winner.

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2016 at 6:57 PM

Isn’t it against their religion?
Schadenfreude on January 17, 2016 at 5:04 PM

Yeah interest is almost as bad as pork. I thought Obummer was all worried about not insulting the pedophile prophet.

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2016 at 7:05 PM

irrational hatred of Iran gives me heartburn.
fatlibertarianinokc on January 17, 2016 at 5:31 PM

Here’s hoping your heart actually burns up.

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2016 at 7:07 PM

this irrational hatred of Iran gives me heartburn.

fatlibertarianinokc on January 17, 2016 at 5:31 PM

Try a couple of Tums, fat boy.

Solaratov on January 17, 2016 at 7:08 PM

Isn’t it against their religion?

Schadenfreude on January 17, 2016 at 5:04 PM

Interest is indeed illegal per the Koran.
So, they would be bad Muslims if they take it.

BTW, isn’t there an outstanding court judgement against Iran that they owe a US family or two?
No chance Obama will garnish their account for that, is there.

AesopFan on January 17, 2016 at 11:53 PM

irrational hatred of Iran gives me heartburn.
fatlibertarianinokc on January 17, 2016 at 5:31 PM

Oh boy, someone left the door open at the loony bin again.

Pegcity on January 18, 2016 at 12:59 AM

this irrational hatred of Iran gives me heartburn.

fatlibertarianinokc on January 17, 2016 at 5:31 PM

Iran would nuke all their neighbors given the chance, and while I personally want to exclude Saudi Arabia from our trade partners, they are at least sane enough to not do what Iran would.

nobar on January 18, 2016 at 1:04 AM

Just how stupid does Obama think we are. Okay, I guess he has a point, after all we were dumb enough to vote for him twice. But the truth is he continues to say that this shows how well diplomacy works. This wasn’t diplomacy. We just paid the ransom, who the hell is he kidding.

pwb on January 18, 2016 at 10:16 AM

But the Libs will continue to maintain that this “deal” only unlocks what the Iranians already owned but was frozen.

Didn’t take long for this to evolve into the U.S. giving the Iranians handouts.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 18, 2016 at 2:17 PM

If my understanding is correct, this is just returning money that belongs to Iran

nonpartisan on January 17, 2016 at 3:53 PM

I’m quite sure your understanding of this is about is complete as your understanding of skeet guns.

Serious Drivel on January 19, 2016 at 10:06 AM